Full disclosure: I had no intention of registering my four-year-old twins for Midtown’s new Tennis Explorers program.
I love them to pieces, but these two are “spirited” on their best days and the definition of chaos and mayhem on their worst. And, like many preschoolers, they are very active, very boisterous, and have very short attention spans.
Twinsanity and tennis? Like oil and water, I thought.
Boy, was I wrong.
We’re nearing the completion of our first 10-week, parent-and-child session, and my twins not only love the game, but have also mastered skills I never thought they would stand still enough to learn.
A Different Approach
Tennis Explorers is unique because the emphasis is on fun, movement, and cultural awareness. Midtown created the program with childhood development professionals, so literacy, counting, and social skills
are also incorporated with each lesson.
The kids spend the first 5 minutes of each lesson in a “circle time” atmosphere on-court, listening to their tennis coach read them a story about a different country from their Tennis Explorers book. They learn how to say, “Hello” in the language of that country, which was a huge hit with my kids. They’re stilling saying, “Jambo” to people they meet, three weeks after learning about Kenya.
Fun is the Focus
Rest assured that your 3-year-old won’t be whacking around a regulation tennis ball with abandon. Tennis Explorers uses large, easy-to-hit foam balls, and in class, they aren’t even called tennis balls. They are “turtles” for one drill (kids practice hand-eye coordination skills by using the strings of their racquet-the turtle’s “shell”-to stop a rolling ball-the turtle’s body) and a “kangaroo” that needs to find its way into its mother’s “pouch” (a cone) for another.
Outside of the story, the class is kept in constant motion, which is a perfect format for active preschoolers. They work on balance, coordination, both large and small motor skills, and the proper way to hold and swing the most adorable, age-appropriate racquet you’ve ever seen. The racquet was designed especially for Midtown by Wilson and each Tennis Explorer receives one, along with these backpacks.
My kids’ tennis coach flawlessly integrates parent participation with each lesson, as we’re asked to toss the kids balls to hit, or even participate in a balance drill along with our children. Parents aren’t usually able to participate in softball, or soccer, or hockey right alongside their kids, so my husband and I are happy to have the opportunity to join our twins on-court in their first foray into sports.
It took just a single class to hook my kids on the game. By the end of the first lesson, my sometimes surly son was jumping up and down shouting, “I LOVE tennis!” He was even more excited to get his first sticker in his “Passport,” the small green book where kids collect a sticker upon completion of each lesson.
While there are child-only classes on the schedule, where kids work with a pro sans parents as they do in other levels of tennis, I would encourage you to take the class with your kids, or have another caregiver take it with them, at least for the first time around. First, the class was designed this way, but more importantly it offers you a guaranteed 45 minutes of uninterrupted time each week to spend with your preschooler.
And with the fast pace of most of our lives, that kind of time is invaluable.
The next session of Tennis Explorers begins this week, and there’s still time to register.
Has your child taken our inaugural session of Tennis Explorers? Please share what you thought of the program in our Comments section.
New to exercise? A seasoned fitness enthusiast? The new year is almost upon us, and there are plenty of ways your Midtown membership can contribute to a revitalized fitness routine.
Our fitness floor has recently received FreeMotion weights, specifically their top-of-the-line product,“The Epic.” The club now has 20 Keiser Bikes (for cycling classes) in the Cycle Studio, and a new Techno Gym in the function room. If you haven’t checked out this state-of-the-art equipment, please contact one of our personal trainers. They would be happy to take you through an orientation.
For the group ex enthusiast, why not try something new? In addition to Yoga, Body Pump, and Zumba, we have Total Body Conditioning, Step, Cardio & Strength Conditioning, mat Pilates and Kickboxing. We have also introduced a Boot Camp in response to our members who enjoyed our “one off” group ex bootcamp over Thanksgiving.
Boot Camp takes places on Thursday nights at 5:30pm and Saturday mornings at 8:00am in the Group Ex room. You can expect a high-intensity, total-body workout. Most of the class will be without weights, using your body for pushups, lunges, squats, plyometrics and core work. We’d love to see you there. The more the merrier!
Crossing over from tennis to fitness? Slayton offers a tennis fitness class that combines the challenges of TRX and the tennis-specific footwork. This class not only improves your core strength, but also looks at balance and weight transference to help court mobility.
“New to You” Classes
Want to add some time in our pool? If you don’t like lane swimming how about trying our Aqua Fit class on Wednesday nights? You can bring the kids to the pool during family swim times on Fridays and Sundays. Our heated pool will be just the place to escape our winters and remind us of the summer that is coming.
Are you a fitness person wanting to try tennis? We have a cardio tennis class just for you. Jump Start Cardio is an intro-level tennis cardio class to get you moving to music on the tennis court! Once you start, you will be hooked and ready for either Cardio Tennis or Game Building Cardio Tennis. Both are set to music. Cardio Tennis uses transition balls and Game Building will use yellow balls. Did you know an average female will burn 400 – 600 calories per hour and a male 600 – 800 calories per hour? These are both great workouts!
The New Year is a time when many of us make resolutions about our overall fitness and wellbeing but, let’s face it, often times these fall by the wayside by the end of January! Trying something new is a good way to maintain the interest and keep going with your resolutions!
Please try one of our new classes and Happy New Year!